Tony Pulis hopes a positive international break can be the catalyst for a return to winning ways against Norwich City on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).
The Boro boss says the two-week window has given his chance to regroup before the high-flying Canaries come to town.
“I hope we’re as bright on Saturday as we have been in the past couple of days, we’ve really trained well” he said.
“The week’s done them the world of good.
“The Villa performance was poor, there’s no hiding that, and I think there was a bit of an undercurrent and after-effect of the Preston game. Not to get any points from the two home games was really tough to take.
“This happens in life. You get knocked down, you have to pick yourself up and get on with it, that’s what we have to do tomorrow.”
Pulis has been impressed by league-leading Norwich, who have been in imperious form since the sides last met at Carrow Road back in September. The evening kick-off sees the division's best attack and best defence go toe-to-toe.
“Their recruitment has been excellent,” he said.
“I hold my hands up, I didn’t know some of the players.
“Obviously the confidence is sky high and they’ve got great balance. We’ve got to knuckle down and get back to being that strong defensively, not taking away the chances which we are creating.
“It’s a game I’m looking forward to.”
Pulis is also pleased to see the region being celebrated as we look ahead to our Enjoy Tees Valley fixture.
"There’s lots of things good about this area, being a lad from South Wales who has lived down south a long time," he said.
"To come up to the North East, I’m just so so impressed with everything to do with the area, the people, and some beautiful places.
"The togetherness and the community spirit is absolutely first class. Rightly so that they should be celebrating what is a wonderful area."
There will also be a bucket collection at Saturday's game, as we urge Boro fans to 'bring a quid' in aid of Teesside Hospice's Patient Comfort Appeal.
"I’ve done quite a bit of work over my long career for one hospice," Pulis said, referring to the Donna Louise Trust in Stoke.
"They’re wonderful places and they do wonderful things.
"The people who work there are saints, there's no other way of describing them. They give up their time and effort working for people who maybe have not been dealt the same set of cards most of us have been dealt in our lives.
"The love and attention they give is exception and if the bucket comes to me I’ll be dropping a few quid in it."